Google launches Knol to rival Wikipedia

LONDON - Google is launching a new online information service called Knol to rival internet encyclopedia Wikipedia.

Knol: Google's Wikipedia rival
Knol: Google's Wikipedia rival

The information service will be written by people with particular areas of expertise and will include named bylines, which differs from Wikipedia whose contributors remain anonymous.

Cedric DuPont, product manager for Knol, said the key principle behind Knol is "authorship", adding: "Every Knol will have an author (or group of authors) who put their name behind their content. It's their Knol, their voice, their opinion. We expect that there will be multiple Knols on the same subject, and we think that is good."

The service, which has been tested over the past few months, will offer a set of community tools that offers different forms of interaction between readers and authors, including allowing people to submit comments, rate or write a review of a Knol, with Google ranking entries by popularity.

Additionally, if an author includes ads, Google says it will provide the author with a revenue share from the proceeds of the ad placements.

Other points of difference to Wikipedia include Knol encouraging writers to reduce their contributions on a topic to a single page, which will not be chronologically updated, along with it not allowing visitors to be able to contribute or edit a Knol unless they have the author's permission.

Knol will have to hit the ground running if it is to compete against Wikipedia, which claims 7 million collectively edited articles in 200 languages.

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